They’re lighter, they’re (sometimes) faster, and they take up less hard drive space than most programs — they’re Adobe Air applications. Though they appropriately live up to their name, these tiny apps do not skim on features. From shopping to managing online photos or streaming digital music, Adobe Air is making it easier to run multiple processes at one time without straining your system. Sometimes, when Photoshop is too much and Firefox has too many tabs open, we just want to open up one more application without using up all our RAM.
The Adobe Air Marketplace offers a substantial list of freeware and shareware Air applications that simplify our lives and make it just a bit easier to finish the task at hand. Though there’s a great selection of all sorts of useful and entertaining applications and desktop widgets, we’ve compiled our list of our favorite, and free, utilitarian Adobe Air applications.
With all the fuss being made about netbooks, you’d think they were God’s gift to computing convenience. Sure, there’s something to be said for those low-cost, low-power machines, but what if you actually need to get some real work done? There’s nothing convenient about being hobbled by an anemic processor, a relatively low-res screen, a shrunken keyboard, and the various other compromises that contribute to a netbook’s cost savings.
For extreme portability in a machine that packs a punch, you’ll need to set your sights higher, to an ultraportable notebook. Ultraportable notebooks are every bit as light, or lighter than, a netbook, with the added benefit of superior features and a more powerful processor. As a general rule, you’ll find your hardiest ultraportables among the business-class models, which are made for both regular travel and all-around productivity. Of course, convenience of this caliber comes at a premium price—usually four to five times the cost of the average netbook.
Thus, choosing an ultraportable is not a decision to be taken lightly. To help you out, we gathered up four elite representatives of the class and put them through rigorous testing. Obviously, we can’t expect any ultraportable machine to have the muscle required for chores like video editing, batch transcoding, or serious gaming. But we do expect these notebooks to accomplish the gamut of typical day-to-day tasks, including photo editing, slide-show creation, and multitasking. And we expect them to offer all the comfort and features necessary for full-fledged computing on the go.
The surge suppressor is one of the unsung heroes of the computer world. Often valued more for its ability to multiply one electrical receptacle into many than for its role as protector of all things electronic, the surge suppressor is your first line of defense against transient power surges that can damage or destroy sensitive components inside your PC. Let’s take a look at how they work.
Before we tackle the concept of surge suppression, we should first understand what exactly a surge is. In the United States, electrical energy flows through standard household wiring at an average rate of 120 volts. Because the system used is alternating current, the voltage level of every AC cycle reaches a peak value that’s roughly 1.414 times higher than 120 volts. A surge occurs when the voltage level suddenly rises significantly higher than that. A lightning strike on a power line, for instance, will cause a transient spike in the electrical power entering your house. Problems with your utility company’s equipment (anything from a downed power line to a defective transformer) can also cause power surges.
Appliances and other electrically powered devices inside your home, however, are much more common causes of power surges. Any device that requires a large amount of energy to switch on or off—examples include refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and air conditioners—can disrupt the flow of voltage through your home’s electrical wiring. Surges such as these don’t pack as much destructive power as a lightning strike, but they can cause as much damage, instantly or over time.
In order to surf the web, you need a web browser, and today there are several different ones to choose from. If you're looking for a lean, no-nonsense browser, Chrome is the one for you. Internet Explorer still stands as the odds on favorite when you want to make sure pages load correctly (not because of superior standards support, but because its majority market share have driven developers to code their webpages to look best on IE). Firefox has found more than a niche market by giving users near endless customization, and Apple's Safari purports to run circles around everyone else (it doesn't). And then there's the cornucopia of alternative browsers and browser shells, like Flock (Firefox-based) and Avant (IE-based).
No matter which browser you choose to surf the web with, the features you take for granted today are the result of nearly two decades of browser design. On the following pages, we'll take you through a visual tour, in chronological order, of every major PC-based (read: not Mac) web browser that ever was, starting with the very first one: WorldWideWeb. We'll tell you what made each one unique and, when applicable, what it contributed to modern browser development.
Sit back, buckle up, and hit the jump to get started!
We were elated when Firefox 3.5 came out, which brought increased stability and new features to one of our favorite web browsers of all time, including private browsing, tear away tabs and location awareness. We also got a faster browser with enhanced security and user-friendliness. However, what ultimately makes Firefox the choice browser is the appeal of its massive library of add-ons, which not only shed light on the fervent community, but also ensure that Firefox users get a great deal by installing widgets and extensions that only add to the Internet browsing experience. Users have the ability to experience what other web browsers do not — and cannot — offer.
From Mozilla's massive library of add-ons, we've chosen our favorite 16 that we believe are essential to the Firefox experience. These are add-ons that introduce features we wish were pre-installed with Firefox -- enhancements that we can't live without. Because as awesome as Firefox already is, these picks make our web browsing experience that much better.
Although the various Linux distributions have a wide variety of software available, you may have a few Windows programs that you may not be willing or able to part with. Although many people dual-boot or use virtual machines to get around this problem, there is yet another potential option that many people new to Linux may not have considered--- Wine. Wine stands out from the other options because it does not require a separate Windows license.
Wine is a program that allows you to run Microsoft Windows programs on Linux. Although it is emulator-like in appearance and by observation, Wine is not an emulator; in fact, the very name of Wine is an acronym for Wine is not an Emulator. A true emulator can emulate CPU architecture in addition to the actual software it is running. For instance, a program that could execute Intel x86-based Windows software on SPARC-based systems running the Solaris operating system would be a true emulator. However, Wine is actually a compatibility layer since both Windows and Wine run natively on x86 and no hardware emulation is required.
Read on to find out how to acquire and configure Wine to play Half-Life 2!
There’s possibly nothing more confusing than trying to buy a new SDHC card. Do you buy Class 2 or Class 6. Do you care about the “X” rating and should you pay for spring for a premium card? Frankly, even geeks can get confused when faced with a selection of 14 different SDHC cards of varying sizes and ratings – none of which readily make sense. Fear not, we waded through the specs and grabbed a selection of cards for testing to see what really matters.
Sometimes, you just have to keep things real. Last year, our Dream Machine was a paean to excess, a chrome-plated $17,000 wünder-rig. While we’re still quite fond of that machine, this year we decided to take a different tack and see if we could build a more reasonably priced, but still lust-worthy Dream Machine. Well, actually, we built three of them. While the combined cost of these three machines is about half the price of last year’s rig, we packed a lot of awesome into our relatively tight budgets. The lesson is simple: Dream Machine isn’t about spending a ludicrous amount of cash on a PC, it’s about getting the best rig you can for the money you spend. I think you’ll agree that these three machines pack a ton of power and are all great values.
Without further ado, we give you this year’s crop of Dream Machines.
This is it – the post you've been waiting for. After four days of wandering the show floor, sitting in on movie studio panels, and epic line waiting, we've come out of Comic-Con 2009 with the mother load: 600 (yes, SIX HUNDRED) photos of the most intricate, sexy, and spellbinding cosplay that showed up this year. Star Wars and Superheroes were well represented, but we also snapped up shots of PC gaming icons, including several Team Fortress 2 teams and an amazing Left 4 Dead group. Legions of slave Leias weren't afraid to bare their skin and the forces of Cobra proudly showed off their guns. We even saw a bunch of familiar faces from last year's pictorial. Grab and seat, put your day on hold, and enjoy the best cosplay gallery from the best year of Comic-Con ever!
Click on to check out our most amazing gallery yet.
The first full day of Comic-Con is over, and we've returned to our hotel room shocked and amazed by the unbelievably cool movie panels and cosplay on display today. Once again, we've narrowed down our top ten sights from today's events for you to enjoy. James Cameron's Avatar, amazing Bioshock cosplay, and a hardcore Street Fighter fan are just a few of the sights that made the list. Just click the "Read More" link below this photo of Supergirl for the full story and more pics.